- A handsome example of an iconic Porsche finished in classic Ruby Red over tan
- Fitted with an uprated 75-horsepower Super engine
- Restored with interesting period-correct modifications; equipped with front disc brakes
- California Mille and Colorado Grand participant; nicely equipped for rallies, tours, and pleasure driving
- Accompanied by side curtains, tool rolls, luggage, and Porsche Kardex copy
In 1954, Porsche introduced its delightful Speedster as a 1955 model. Created as a “price leader” in the sports car-hungry American market, this bare-bones little roadster proved to be extremely competitive both in the showroom and on the track. Essentially a stripped-down Cabriolet with a removable windshield, the Speedster was devoid of almost every amenity for its base price of under $3,000 delivered in New York; even its heating system was an extra-cost option. A pair of simple side-curtains and a folding fabric top kept bad weather at bay. Basic single-piece buckets were installed in lieu of Porsche’s usual well-padded, adjustable seats.
Speedsters could be enjoyed as everyday transportation, then driven to local racing circuits—where owners would slap masking tape over the glass-covered headlamps, apply taped numbers to the doors and decklids, and line up on the starting grid. Speedsters quickly established themselves as the car to beat in under-2-liter US amateur racing. Serious drivers installed rollover bars, de-cambered the suspension, and fitted racing rubber. It usually took a Speedster to beat a Speedster; 60-horsepower “Normals” and 75-horsepower “Supers” competed in different classes, and both versions proved both dominant and reliable. Speedsters remained competitive in SCCA racing well into the 1980s, an incredible life-span for a single model.
The handsome and well-equipped 1956 Speedster offered here departed the factory November 12, 1956, en route to US importer Hoffman Motors in New York. Delivered in White with a black canvas top and red leatherette interior, it was equipped with the 60-horsepower Normal engine, US-specification sealed-beam headlamps, and bumpers with US over-riders. While other details of its early life are unknown, it joined the expansive collection of Texas industrialist Gene Ponder in late 2007, where it was put to use on classic car tours and rallies, including successful completions of the California Mille and the Colorado Grand.
A previous owner had the car restored, re-spraying it in the always-popular Code 702 Ruby Red. The door-jamb plate displaying the paint code appears to have been replaced to reflect the current color, though the body panels retain their correct number stampings. The lower tail panel has been tastefully modified to resemble that of a Carrera 2, with a louvered exhaust apron and twin exhaust outlets.
Both the original engine and four-speed manual transaxle have also been replaced. The engine is now a much more potent 75-horsepower Super of late 1962 vintage (numbered 704074), and the gearbox a fully synchronized unit from 1960-1961 (numbered 37917). The interior was changed to tan leather with black trim; the re-upholstered, ventilated Speedster seats and dash pad being piped in maroon. Porsche-crested lap belts are provided for occupant safety.
To enhance the usability and enjoyment of the car on drives both short and long, Ponder fitted his lovely little Speedster with front disc brakes and full set of costly aftermarket Route Borrani 15-inch knock-off wheels and hubs, plus a chromed Leitz luggage rack with new tan leather straps, and a fitted suitcase that nestles snugly in the front trunk. Chromed cast-metal headlamp guards help protect the front lighting from stray rocks and other road debris. A Ponto-Stabil rear-view mirror is affixed to the driver’s door.
Inside the cabin, an elegant aftermarket Gustav Petri Steering wheel with a “Zodiac” horn button faces the driver. A modern Alpine stereo lives in a custom-fabricated housing beneath the instrument panel, and a pair of green plastic sun visors is attached to the top of the windshield frame. This Speedster was recently serviced by Red Car Restorations in Rockwell, Texas in July 2021, where its engine was removed for cleaning, installation of a new rear main seal, fitting of a new 17.5-milimeter “Sport” front anti-roll bar, and replacement of its rear axle boots and a carburetor rebuild.
The car is supplied with a tan canvas folding top, a pair of side curtains and storage bag, a spare Borrani wheel and tire, jack, and a Borrani-labeled soft copper hammer to use for wheel removal and reinstallation, along with two tool rolls. A selection of 2021 maintenance records further accompany the car, as well as a Kardex copy.
Now offered from the Gene Ponder Collection and perfect for touring, this delectable Speedster is a nicely presented Porsche icon that awaits its next lucky owner.